Wednesday, April 20, 2011

True Confessions...

35 years ago, almost to the day, I skipped Grade 9 Home Economics to go downtown Hamilton with Mary Lynne Curtis and buy a Rush t-shirt I had been eyeing for some weeks. We got caught, and my 15th birthday was one of my most unpleasant, and yet memorable, birthdays on record.

Last night, in a circle-closing kind of thing, I went to Copps Coliseum with the boys and their dad to see Rush perform. Now, I've never been a serious fan, make no mistake, I just liked the t-shirt.

But in over 30 years of avid-concert-going, I will state here that last night's performance by Rush was the BEST show I've ever see. Bar none.

What do I like about Rush?

These are three regular but extremely intelligent guys, locally grown, with little pretension. There are no feather boas, no tantrums in hotel rooms, no obvious sex-starved groupies; just three guys who love to make music. They had no opening band, they played for three hours with a 20-minute break, and they looked like they were having fun doing it.

The highlight for me, apart from very entertaining videos that led into some of their most popular songs, was Neil Peart's drum solo. His drum kit is a beautiful thing - that's right, I'm waxing poetic about drums. But these are truly gorgeous: copper-coloured, rotating, dazzling drums. And what he does with them you feel in your stomach and throat - just amazing. I've always had a weakness for percussion, and this more than met my expectations.

I have never really appreciated Alex Lifeson's skill as a guitarist, but to hear him play an acoustic guitar solo leading into Closer to the Heart? I get goosebumps just recounting it.

And Geddy Lee - so his voice has mellowed some over the years, which for me is a good thing. But watching him completely shred the bass, while jumping around and looking, in all honesty, like a long-haired, sneakered teenager just having fun... well, it was inspired.

These guys know how to put on a show - a few special effects and pyrotechnics, but mostly relying on their own skill and showmanship. I am stunned by how much I enjoyed the show.

Do I love their music?
not 100% - if it's a song where I can't sing along or find a steady rhythm, not so much.
Would I see them again?
Would I recommend them?
ABSOLUTELY - just bring earplugs (we didn't, and for being only three guys playing up there, it's amazing that I still can't hear out of my left ear).

So there you go - the circle of Rush... not a bad start to this new era of which we shan't speak - we shall simply call it spring, and speak of it no more.